The Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize 2024

The 2024 Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize is now open for submissions.

The deadline for entries is 5PM April 7th 2024.

The competition is funded by Brick Lane Bookshop and is partnering this year with Spread the Word, Scratch Books, and The London Magazine.

The competition is for original short fiction between 1000 and 5000 words.

First Prize is £1000, Second Prize is £500, Third Prize is £250.

The three prize winners will each receive a development meeting with a member of the Spread the Word team, a year’s membership to their London Writers Network, plus four free places for workshops and courses on their regular programme. The short story publisher Scratch Books is also offering editorial feedback for the top three authors, and a longlisted entry will be published in a print edition of The London Magazine.

The twelve longlisted stories will be published in Brick Lane Bookshop’s New Short Stories 2024 anthology.

The entry fee is £10. There are also 50 free spaces available for authors on a low income, see below for details.

How to Enter

Read the Terms and conditions below

Fill out the entry form on this page.

Entry costs £10 per story. The proceeds of the competition cover prize administration, the anthology production costs and paying readers and judges. Everyone involved with the running of the prize is paid.

We have 50 free entries for low-income writers, available on a first-come, first-served basis. This number may grow as we receive pay-it-forward entries once submissions are open. 

If you’re a low-income writer; for example from a household earning less than £16k per year, or in receipt of benefits, working tax credits, universal credit, disability allowance or carer’s allowance, please email  [email protected] to check availability. Use ‘Low-income entry’ as your subject header and include your full name and email address. We don’t require any information about or proof of your financial situation, but please bear in mind these places are limited and designed to allow writers for whom the entry fee is prohibitive to take part in the competition. Before emailing, please read our T&Cs carefully to check you are eligible to enter the competition. 

It is important to us that the competition is accessible to as many writers as possible. If you require assistance to submit your story, please contact us a month ahead of the submission deadline so that we can help or advise. We also recommend visiting the CRIPtic Arts website which offers different points of assistance for creatives with disabilities.

File Specifications

Save your entry as a PDF.

Use the title of your story, followed by your word count as the file name, eg: Bookshops are Great 1978

Entries are judged anonymously so your name must not be anywhere on the document. If it is, (including in a footer, header, or file name), your entry will be automatically disqualified; you won’t be notified or refunded if this is the case, so please double-check before uploading your entry. 

Please use the following:

Size – 12pt

Colour – Black

Line spacing – Double

Number your pages

2024’s Judges

The 2024 will be judged by author Vanessa Onwuemezi (Dark Neighbourhood), editor Dan Bird (Granta), and agent Lucy Luck (C&W Agency).

Vanessa Onwuemezi is a writer living in London. She was the winner of The White Review Short Story Prize in 2019 and her work has appeared in literary and art magazines, including Granta, Frieze and Prototype. Her debut story collection, Dark Neighbourhood, was published in 2021 and was named one of the Guardian’s Best Books of 2021. It was shortlisted for both the Republic of Consciousness Prize and the Edge Hill Prize in 2022. Her short story Green Afternoon was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Award 2022.

Dan Bird joined Granta in July 2019. After initially working as part of Granta’s campaigns team, he moved into the editorial department in 2021. As Editor, he now acquires across both fiction and non-fiction. Recent titles on which he’s worked include Hiroko Oyamada’s Weasels in the Attic (translated by David Boyd), Sam Mills’ The Watermark, Justin Torres’ Blackouts, Walter Kempowski’s An Ordinary Youth (translated by Michael Lipkin) and A.K. Blakemore’s The Glutton. Prior to joining Granta, he worked at Waterstone’s, as both a bookseller and events coordinator, while completing an MA in Contemporary Literature at Queen Mary University of London.

Lucy Luck is an agent of literary fiction and non-fiction at C&W Agency. She joined in 2016 having previously worked at Aitken Alexander Associates, Lucy Luck Associates (which she founded in 2006) and Rogers, Coleridge & White. Her list of authors includes Douglas Stuart, Catherine O’Flynn, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Colin Barrett, Kevin Barry, Sara Baume, Richard Beard, Colin Walsh, Sara Taylor, Roddy Doyle, Wendy Erskine, Zoe Gilbert, Eley Williams, Garth Greenwell and Andrew Michael Hurley.

2024 Timeline

Submissions open: January 30th, 2024.

Deadline for entries: 5pm, April 7th, 2024.

Long-longlist announced: Late June

Longlist (stories to be published in the anthology) announced: Early August

Shortlist announced: September

Book Launch and Prize announcements: October/November

Terms and Conditions

Stories must be between 1000 and 5000 words (not including the title).

Entrants must be over the age of 18 by the deadline: 5pm, 7th April 2024. 

Entries received after the deadline of 5pm, 7th April 2024 will not be accepted.

Entrants must be current residents of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, or Wales. Proof of address will be required at the longlist stage. 

Stories must be written in English.

Stories must be for adults.

Entries must be an original, stand-alone work of fiction by the entrant. 

Novel excerpts, non-fiction, children’s or YA fiction, essays, memoirs, graphic novels, or poetry will not be accepted.

No edits or changes can be made to entries after submission, so please double-check your work before submitting. 

All submissions are blind to judges and readers. Your name must not be anywhere on your submission. If it is, your entry will be automatically disqualified (you will not be refunded or notified if this is the case, so please, please double-check your entry before uploading it).

Multiple entries from the same author are accepted, but each entry is £10. Each entry must be submitted using a separate entry form.

Black and white illustrations are permitted if they are essential to the story and the copyright belongs to the entrant, or the entrant has permission to use the image. However, please bear in mind that should your story be longlisted and published, it will be in an A-format (110 x 178mm) book, and printed in black and white on paper designed for text, not high-resolution images. 

Each entry is £10. If this is not paid the entry will be deleted unless the entrant has been allocated a free low-income entry by us via email. To claim a free low-income entry, please email [email protected] with the subject ‘low-income entry’ as far in advance of the competition deadline as possible.

The short story entered into this competition must be unpublished and not scheduled for publication in print or online. This includes personal blogs and in self-published collections. Please let us know immediately if this changes by emailing [email protected].

The entrant may have had other work published, for instance, individual stories in anthologies or online, but not an entire book of their own work (this means any writing, not just fiction) as of the submission deadline.

The entrant may not have an entire book of their own work scheduled for publication.

The entrant may have had work published on personal blogs.

The entrant may have self-published an entire book of their own work, or had academic work published, so long as book sales were below 50 copies.

The story submitted to the 2024 BLB Short Story Prize cannot have won a prize in another competition but may have been short or longlisted. 

If your entry is long or short-listed by another competition or offered publication after you have entered the 2024 Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Prize, you must let us know immediately by emailing [email protected]

The entry must be the entrant’s own original work.

Translations into English are accepted. Any prize money would be shared between writer and translator and both would be credited in the anthology. If the submission is longlisted, please inform us of the writer’s and translator’s names at that stage and we will use both names on any listings and in the anthology.

Stories generated, or partially generated by AI/Chat GPT/similar will not be accepted.

Entries will not be accepted from members of the Brick Lane Bookshop team, nor their families. 

No editorial feedback can be provided on stories that do not reach the longlisting stage. 

Longlisted stories will be copy-edited before publication.

The judges’ decisions are final.

The copyright of longlisted stories remains the author’s but Brick Lane Bookshop have the right to publish them online and in print.

Longlisted and shortlisted writers will be notified by email.

We are sorry that unsuccessful entrants cannot be individually contacted. Please sign up to our newsletter when submitting your entry to receive news about the prize.

Submission of an entry is taken as acceptance of our terms and conditions.

Reasons for disqualification:

Entrant’s name on submission

Entry fee not paid (and writer has not been allocated a low-income entry)

The submission is outside the word limit

The entrant is not a UK resident     

Any of the terms and conditions set out above are not met

Brick Lane Bookshop Short Story Anthologies

Please email any queries to: [email protected]

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